The last one at the San Sebastian Festival: Naomi Kawase, obsessive, lyrical and confused

The last one at the San Sebastian Festival: Naomi Kawase, obsessive, lyrical and confused

The Japanese director proposes in 'True mothers' a delicate and erratic condensation of all her obsessions.

The last one at the San Sebastian Festival: Naomi Kawase, obsessive, lyrical and confused

Each is obsessed not so much with what he wants as with what he wants him. An obsession is not born from an act of the will. It is more of a reflex act conditioned by who you are rather than what you want. Johnny Depp, for example, said a few days ago right here at the festival venue that his obsession was the chacolí. He tried to reason it out, but he barely managed to stammer some disjointed phrases very close to rapture. In fact, the same thing happened to him every time he tried a sentence on any other matter, but when he had to explain his obsession with local wines, his embarrassment reached spasm. It was the chacolí that forced his stuttering and possessed him. Not the other way around.

Naomi Kawase, for example, is one of those people who, like so many others, has turned her obsession into her study and work subject. The peculiarity is that in the case of the Japanese director, as in Montaigne's and in that of a good part of the users of social networks, her obsession is herself. 'True mothers' , for example, can be read as a precipitate of all his cinema. Both in what he mentions the themes and the forms, as well as his biography, which, in his case, traces the filmography.

The last one at the San Sebastian Festival: Naomi Kawase, obsessive, lyrical and confused

On more than one occasion the director has spoken of the special relationship she had with her grandmother after her father left her. Loss, mourning, motherhood, nature transmuted into mother or light are some of the constants of a cinema determined to be almost a tool for personal understanding, even perhaps beyond obsession. All of this converges in this latest film that, in its own way, distances itself from the lit lyricism of her latest works to perhaps attempt a therapy of distancing herself from herself.

Kawase now proposes up to four different stories, each one with a different focus and motivation. The first is a melodrama that revolves around the suffering of a couple who, faced with the impossibility of conceiving a child, decide to adopt him. The second wants to be a social reading or criticism about the unwanted pregnancy of a teenager that, at times, reminds of the overwhelming beauty of 'Quiet Waters' . The third is almost an elegiac poem about the nursing home, which is also an NGO, on the shores of a sea where the sun is eternally reflected. There the young woman, just a girl, gives birth to the son who will later change mother. There is also a threat of ' thriller ' where the adoptive parents are blackmailed at the expense of the child. That is, Kawase insists on herself, but from all points of view, some of them completely new and contradictory to each other.

The film alternates moments of unquestionable beauty with simple confusion. Everything is still beautiful as it is law in the director, but in a way between bleak and only lukewarm. The problem is that 'True mothers', among so many threats of argument, does not decide to be anything in particular. And there it loses a good part of its strength. It seems that Kawase is determined to tame each of her obsessions (which is nothing more than the obsession of herself), this time giving the voice to others: to other characters that perhaps have nothing to do with her and to other film genres that drive like a curious tourist. And of course, as Depp and the chacolí made it clear to us, obsessions are the ones that rule us. Not the other way around.

In any case, and to de-dramatize, every time the camera looks at the light, the film decomposes before the eyes as only Kawase's cinema is capable of. And that is enough, without a doubt.

In this way, the official competition of a festival was closed that, like all at this time, have made a virtue of necessity (and the mask). Tomorrow the winners will be announced and it only remains to be seen if the jury dares to give the Golden Shell to the only film that has dared to dare. ' Beginning ', by Georgian Dea Kulumbegashvili , is an obsession, the only one possible, rather than just a film.

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